Ian Buruma Quotes
4 Sourced Quotes
But, in the late twentieth century, it became more important to many leftists to save Third World culture, no matter how barbaric, from neo-colonialism, than to support equality and democracy. People on the left would defend brutal dictators (Castro, Mao, Pol Pot, Khomeini, et al.) simply because they opposed Western imperialism. As a result, all politics that were derived, no matter how loosely, from Marxism, lost credibility, and finally died in 1989. This was naturally a disaster for communists and socialists, but also for social democrats, for they had lost an ideological basis for their idealism. And, without idealism, politics becomes a form of accounting, a management of purely material interests.
It was, as we know, not so much eradicated as replaced by a Communist orthodoxy after 1949. And when this orthodoxy began to lose its grip on the Chinese public after the death of Chairman Mao in 1976, Chinese officials struggled to find a new set of beliefs to justify their monopoly on power. The ideological hybrid that followed Maoism was "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics," a mixture of state capitalism with political authoritarianism.
Obama is neither a socialist, nor a mere political accountant. He has some modest ideals, and may yet be an excellent president. But what is needed to revive liberal idealism is a set of new ideas on how to promote justice, equality and freedom in the world. Reagan, Thatcher, and Gorbachev, assisted in the end of an ideology, which once offered hope, and inspired real progress, but resulted in slavery and mass murder. We are still waiting for a new vision, which will lead to progress, but this time, we hope, without tyranny.